2012: A Positive Global Vision
of Healing & Flourishing

JUly 26-29, 2012 | Toronto, Canada

The 7th Biennial International Meaning Conference was held July 26-29, 2012 at the Delta Toronto East Hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The conference theme was “A Positive Global Vision of Healing & Flourishing.”

In today’s climate of global economic uncertainty, geopolitical conflicts, ecological crisis, and the widening gap between haves and have-nots, the meaning perspective offers a promising vision to resolve these challenging global issues and achieve sustainable growth for both individuals and society. The conference highlighted the role of meaning in well-being, flourishing, character strengths, resilience, post-traumatic growth, spirituality, psychotherapy, healing, recovery, and positive organizations. It emphasized both cutting-edge research and the application of research findings to meaningful living.

Among the over 90 presentations, the conference hosted a number of summits involving the most creative minds and best-known experts to explore new frontiers and find new solutions, with the belief that the meaning-mindset offers an alternative global vision for developing healthy communities and living rewarding lives. The pre-conference professional workshops covered the latest developments in counselling and psychotherapy. The conference placed a premium on providing delegates with opportunities for interactions with participants from different theoretical camps and cultures. Through cross-fertilization, integration, and networking, it was hoped that we could find new pathways to make life better for all. Highlights included a premiere screening of Viktor & I and A Drop of Sunshine, the creation of a documentary entitled What Makes Life Worth Living, and a Celebration Banquet that coincided with organizer Dr. Paul Wong’s 75th birthday.

The conference was hosted by the INPM and Sunshine Coast Health Center and sponsored by Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute Inc. and Purpose Research.

Special Film Screenings


Please know how very much I enjoyed the entire conference, including that final night that capped the experience in such a personal way. You deserve all the tributes you get for bringing the topic of “personal meaning” to such international eminence. Of course, many more tributes are in order for your research, publications (including Second Edition, which I found so stimulating), etc. As you conveyed Sunday evening, achievements like these don’t come easily. However, we all have the great satisfaction of work that is “meaningful,” in our own psyches, as well as in content. I wish you and your wife all the best in your continuing endeavours and life together.

Niki Glanz, Ph.D.

Independent Researcher, Lebanon

It was [an] extraordinary conference for me and my husband. First time, after three years of writing my Ph.D. thesis, that I’m with people who talk about materials I’m dealing with. Real delight. So thank you very much. Also, I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to lecture in the conference, though I was sorry you weren’t there. I believe my research about young children and meaning in life, is important to this field because there is no research about it. After submitting my thesis I’ll be glad to write about it.

Yael Sharon, Ph.D.

Medical Psychologist, Israel

I want to thank you again for the opportunity to present a keynote address at the International Conference on Personal Meaning. It was a marvelous event. It served as a stimulus for the start of a number of new projects for me related to meaning.

Alan Waterman, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, College of New Jersey

I also want to say thank you for a very professional, informative, and enjoyable conference! This was my first year attending and I am extremely happy with all I experienced. I am very grateful to [Paul], Lilian, and all of the organizers and presenters. I look forward to reviewing the presentations on-line because there was so much information to take in!

Carrie Bailey

Counsellor, George Brown College

I wanted to email you to let you know how much I enjoyed the Meaning Conference. It was life changing for me. It reaffirmed my decision to go on this journey of self-discovery and personal development. It also made me realize just how much passion I have for this new career/calling and I’m looking forward to becoming a psychotherapist. It feels really good to look forward to something and to know that I am moving in the right direction.

Bina Paiva

I attended the Meaning Conference last week and I would just like to formally thank you for organizing such a wonderful conference. I can honestly say that the conference was both life and career changing for me and fueled in me a passion to learn more about discovering and creating meaning and value in my life and assisting my clients in doing the same. I look forward to the next conference and I hope one day similar conferences will be held in the U.S. Thank you again…

Dionne Bates, Ph.D.

Psychotherapist, Savannah, GA

Congratulations on mounting such a successful Meaning Conference this year. Our students really enjoyed it.

Jim McNamara, Ph.D.

Programs Director, Living Institute

I wanted to thank you for your work to put the Meaning Conference together. Both professionally and personally, I was thrilled with the experience. It was a way to really claim my interest in the field of meaning-making and get to connect with the latest buzz from the field. I was also pleasantly surprised to see the extent of overlap between the fields of meaning and spirituality. I am really excited to begin my dissertation journey next semester and dive into this field of meaning, focusing on the transcendent aspects of meaning.

H'Sien Hayward, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychology Extern, Kaiser Permanente

Thank you for organizing the conference. It was awe-inspiring and felt like I had come home.

Karen Weima, M.Div.

Chaplain & Consultant, Toronto, ON

Thank you for putting on the 2012 Meaning Conference. I so enjoyed the experience and feel enriched by it. So many tributes were made to you both [Paul and Lilian] last night. I had no idea of the full extent of the work you are doing. The people whose lives you have touched spoke so eloquently, and with authenticity about you both. There will probably be some ripple effect in that they in turn will “pay forward” some of what you have given to them.

Gaynor Kim-Sing

Senior Administrative Assistant, Toronto, ON

It was a pleasure and honor to help you on the conference. I’ve got priceless experience of organization such events and unforgettable memories of meeting great people. I’m very grateful for that and touched by your kindness.

Nina Matveeva


I am pleased to extend my warmest greetings to everyone attending the 7th Biennial International Conference on Personal Meaning, hosted by the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM).

Founded in 1998, INPM advances health, spirituality, and human fulfilment through education, research, and applied psychology. This year’s conference—with its theme A Positive Global Vision of Healing and Flourishing through Meaning—brings together leading researchers and practitioners from around the world to exchange ideas on the important role positive thinking plays in today’s challenging global society.

I would like to commend the organizers of this event for putting together a stimulating and rewarding program. I am certain that delegates will benefit from the many educational and networking opportunities available over the next four days, and will come away inspired by the ideas presented here.

Please accept my best wishes for an enjoyable and productive meeting in Toronto.

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Prime Minister, Government of Canada

On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to all those attending the 7th Biennial International Meaning Conference.

I have always believed that community does not stop at our borders. Because we are citizens of Canada, we are also citizens of the world. As Canada’s most diverse province, Ontario has ties to every part of the globe. As part of this big international community, it is our collective responsibility to find solutions to the challenges before us.

Positive social change begins with us—in our attitudes, and in the ideas and actions we share with the world. That is why I wish to commend the organizers of this conference for providing a forum where ideas can be generated on finding new ways to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Please accept my best wishes for a productive conference.

Dalton McGuinty

Premier, Province of Ontario

It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone attending the 7th Biennial International Meaning Conference hosted by the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Different events in individual’s lives have different meanings and levels of importance associated with them. What we all have in common, however, is that we all wish to cherish our life and live it with the utmost enjoyment and a positive attitude.

The International Meaning Conference will feature a number of well-respected keynote speakers who will share with us new and different perspectives about life and no doubt expand our minds to the true meaning of the world around us.

On behalf of Toronto City Council, please accept my best wishes for an enlightening and successful event.It is with great pleasure that I welcome everyone attending the 7th Biennial International Meaning Conference hosted by the International Network on Personal Meaning.

Rob Ford

Mayor, City of Toronto

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